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Monday, December 18, 2006

Running - Being good racers in training and losing the plot

I don't think a lot of NZ coaches have really grasped the finer points of Lydiard’s coaching, I’m seeing young runners grinding out over the Waitakeres most weekends going flat out, I'm not hearing the message train don't strain, I'm hearing a message of mileage instead of time spent training.

A group of young adults goes out over the Waitakeres whether they are bent on competing I’m not sure, they go out together but come back down at one hang of a pace spread-eagled possibly racing each other back down. Their best is being given on the Waitakeres.
Our best results are coming from athletes trained by overseas coaches.

It’s the problem when a few coaches have all the talent under their wing, if they don't do a good job all the talent isn't developed properly.

There needs to be a message of balance, knowing when to ease off and listening to your own body rather than religiously following a coach.


Photo: 1970's Canterbury, New Zealand Korean training camp when NZ was the Mecca for runners: the long sunday pack runs were part of a carefully managed buildup plan. There were no heroics.

Gary Moller comments:
Wayne, These observations and comments are right on the mark and get to the heart of one of the reasons why New Zealand has lost the running plot after having been consistently at the top of the running world.

If you read my articles about Kenyan running, you will realise that Kenyans commence their running from a very early age, with brief bursts of intensity when playing games like soccer. This very much describes my own upbringing in rural New Zealand of the 1950's. It is only after a decade and a half later that the Kenyans, as young adults, are subjected to big running miles at pace and gut-heaving anaerobic work.

Lydiard alway worked on the basis that it took 8-10 years to build a champion. How right he was and how right he still is.

To take teenage boys and girls with the best of just a few years of running behind them and have them racing the lenght of the Waitakeres is really dumb. It is a recipe for disaster. End of story!


Anonymous said...

Here is the US there has always been considerable interest in Lydiard's approach. But I think the most commonly asked question about it is "How fast is the basework supposed to be?" Then there will be some out of context focus on Lydiard's comment about wasting time if you ran the Waitakeres in slower than 2:20 (made to one or two particular athletes in regards to one particularsituation) or there's be notice paid to something likea 55 minute ten mile that Halberg or Magee once did in his base phase.
These people usually have a hard time believing me when I tell that that Arthur NEVER advised me to run at a particular pace and always said things like, "Just enjoy yourself and don't worry about pace."
But we've gotten so "scientific" now and everyone wants to describe their runs in relation to some sort of threshold or in terms of running "x" slower than "y" racing pace and it's so hard to refute that kind of thinking, which is based in specific numbers, with a general comment like "enjoy yourself."
So much of Arthur's thinking was rooted in the idea that running was a long term project and now everyone wants nearly immediate results.

Wayne said...

on his easy days of training nouredine morceli trained at 6 min lkilometre pace, it doesnt matter how slow you run on the long runs at all. the duration is what matters , that is whre the conditioning comes, my hiking for hours and days on end